Judy Finnigan meets Sidmouth readers

Judy Finnigan and her husband, Richard Madeley, visited Kennaway House on Monday, 18 March to talk a

Judy Finnigan and her husband, Richard Madeley, visited Kennaway House on Monday, 18 March to talk about Judy's latest book, Eloise. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 7353-12-13AW. To order your copy of this photograph, go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24 - Credit: Archant

The tables turned on national treasure Judy Finnigan as she spoke about her book in Sidmouth on Monday.

Her husband, Richard Madeley, came along to support his former co-host as her role shifted from critic to novelist, and from interviewer to interviewee.

She introduced her Sunday Times bestselling book Eloise to a record turnout in the first of the year’s ‘Meet the Authors’ events at Kennaway House.

Judy and Richard have run a book club since 2004, and the former said writing a novel was a ‘great leap of faith’.

“I’m hugely relieved it’s been a success, especially for the publishers that took a chance on me,” she said.

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While the 64-year-old may have had some reservations, her husband never had any doubt.

“I read it and said, ‘It’s a bestseller – you have to show it to our agent’,” said Richard.

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Judy came up with the concept in 2006, but said she didn’t have the time, energy or confidence to finish it until last year.

Despite her long career of meeting people and learning their stories, Judy said the book was very personal, and characters were taken from her own imagination.

But she did take inspiration from her friend, Caron Keating, who was lost to breast cancer in her forties.

Eloise is a ghost story and thriller that tells the story of a mother who dies and leaves two children, but her connection to them means she continues to communicate with them.

Judy was talking to the Herald before speaking to a crowd of more than 100 people with event organiser Kate Norbury.

The sell-out event will be followed by an evening with crime writer Peter James on Friday, April 19.

Then the following Monday, April 22, Rachel Johnson, the former editor of The Lady magazine and London mayor Boris’s sister, will be appearing. Tickets (£10) are available from the Kennaway House office by calling 01395 515551.

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